First Ever Sharing of a Snip from the New Story

Going to try something a little different today... With two weeks left to go in A Round of Words in 80 Days, I'm going to share a snip.

This is from the still (sigh) untitled Fred and Lyne story, a Beauty and the Beast tale turned upside down.

A one thousand year old curse enslaves a Man,
but what happens when Beauty refuses to help the Beast?
"'The Curse of the Octopus,'" Lyne read out loud.
"Octopus? Are you certain of that?" Professor Ronald peered over her shoulder.
She passed him the vellum sheet, which she'd already slipped into a plastic covering. Still the edges crackled under her hands. She couldn't wait to carbon date the ink and paper.
The Professor's brows rose as he read, lips moving. He tilted the sheet towards the light coming from the entrance to the cave. "There seems to be a mark here," he muttered, and stepped across to the trestle table.
Lyne hurried after him, boots clomping on the uneven stone floor. They'd turned the cave's opening into a makeshift office and storeroom, even while excavations continued further into the caverns behind and below.
She'd been with the Professor on the other side of the dig site, near the well, when he'd uncovered the sheet that morning. She'd not had a chance to read it until all the testing and caretaking formalities had been completed. He sensed her enthusiasm, and slid the sheet closer to her. Yet he was not smiling.
She wiped down the surface of the table, pulled on a pair of cotton gloves, and eased the vellum from its wrapping. A breeze fluttered the corners of the sheet and the Professor cast a scowl at the open doors. But Lyne glanced back, towards the narrower opening that led further into the cave. The wind seemed to have come from there.
They couldn't keep the vellum out of its covering for long, owing to the weather; the wettest April England had seen in over a century. Despite the solid rock surrounding them, and even with the newly-erected doors in place, the damp still seeped in.
Lyne weighted the edges of the vellum with marble blocks, as the Professor slammed the doors shut and came around to stand behind her. "This is the mark I meant," he said, pointing with a finger above the manuscript. "If we take it as part of the rune, then it changes the meaning."
"So not 'octopus' but -" She stopped, but the Professor didn't offer an alternate translation. The runes were so faded, in any case, that every mark or line on the page seemed to run into the words. "Perhaps it's a code word," she offered. "The cave is on the sea, after all."
"Read on," Professor Ronald commanded.
Slowly, tracing each rune with a hovering finger, Lyne read the legend. The last line was the hardest to decipher and the nearest she got was 'until the Beast be freed and the octopus fall / though no luck there be unless Beauty calls.'
"What does that mean?" She'd promised herself never to act uncertain in front of the Professor - the highest authority in Celtic scholarship in Europe - and hurried on with a suggestion. "If it refers to a woman who falls in love with the beast and -"
"I hardly think it's as simple as that," the Professor snapped. "We're dealing with druids, Miss Lyne. The educated class. Not old wives and their folktales."
Hope you liked it! First pages of the first draft...

Coming up in the next little while on and around this blog: poetry anthology release! Justine Dell! guest posting at Jessica Bell's!

the link above explains where this venn diagram came from...


Zan Marie said…
And an intriguing snip it is! Ooooh, Deniz, I'm going to like this one. I just know it.
Sarah Meral said…

I already love that story :).

Do you have more to share . I would love to read more!
Anonymous said…
"The curse of the octopus." = awesome opener.
S.P. Bowers said…
Love the snip. Can't wait to see more.
Anonymous said…
Excellent writing. Very descriptive. I could "see" what was going on--like watching a movie. :)
Carol Riggs said…
What a fun and intriguing excerpt! Good job on the setting too. Congrats on a compelling beginning. :)
Arlee Bird said…
This is a good tease. Caves, curses, and Druids--nothing wrong with those story elements.

A Faraway View
Thanks for sharing your opening. Love that last line--oh snap!

Great Neil Gaiman picture.
Deniz Bevan said…
Yay, thanks everyone! It's always so nerve racking to share.
Jeff Hargett said…
Nice. Intriguing glimpse and tease.
Anonymous said…
Interesting. You transported me elsewhere. This sounds mysterious, as well as historical and archaeological.
Hi Deniz .. certainly a mix of emotions going on here - sounds a fascinating concept ... I certainly want to know where the wind is coming from and its context ... and that vellum sheet ... and questionable mark ...

Lovely atmosphere ... cheers Hilary
Great snippet! I love that the character's an archaeologist; and the paper is definitely intriguing.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks so much Medeia, Hilary and Eagle! I'm all the more excited to keep typing up the draft now!
nutschell said…
INtriguing, for sure! Totally love that venn diagram.;)

Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks, nutschell!

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